The upcoming update for Windows 11 by Microsoft will introduce support for passkeys, a password-free authentication method that utilizes facial recognition, fingerprints, or a device PIN for logging into accounts. This was announced during Microsoft’s AI and Surface launch event on Thursday. With this latest update, which will be available starting September 26th, users will be able to generate, manage, and store passkeys. These can then be used to access compatible websites and services through their device’s built-in authentication systems.
Microsoft initially started testing passkey management in the Windows Insider developer channel in June, and now this Windows 11 update is making this technology widely accessible to all users.
These Windows 11 passkeys are established via Windows Hello and can be utilized on both Windows desktop systems and/or mobile devices to verify the user’s identity. Following the update, IT teams will also have the capability to encourage employees to adopt more secure login methods by eliminating the option to use passwords for all Windows 11 devices that have Windows Hello for Business enabled.
“For the past several years, we’ve been committed to working with our industry partners and the FIDO Alliance to further the passwordless future with passkeys,” said Microsoft in a blog post published on Thursday. “Passkeys are the cross-platform, cross-ecosystem future of accessing websites and applications.”
Microsoft provided Github and Docusign as examples of where they can be used, as passkeys can only replace passwords on websites, apps, and services that already support the WebAuthn public key authentication standard. Password management service 1Password has created a comprehensive directory that tracks everything currently supporting passkey.
Passkeys are expected to eventually replace passwords entirely as a new standard for login technology, but it’s going to take a while for them to be widely supported. Microsoft is one of the technology’s earliest supporters, having announced its plans to adopt passkeys on World Password Day in 2022 alongside other tech giants like Apple and Google.